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Varying tension on cross strings

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For as long as we have been stringing there has been an ongoing discussion revolving around the pros and cons of altering the tension between the main strings and cross strings.  Many years ago we concluded it was a matter of personal preference.  The players in the camp advocating a lower set tension argued that because the cross strings are shorter they should be pulled at a lower tension.  Those in the opposite camp believed that pulling at higher tension reduced string movement.  Both camps argued emphatically that their method produced a better feel.  When it comes to a criteria like “feel” we are in objective territory and that is why we concluded it was largely a personal preference.

However, back when we drew this conclusion we were not in the era of polys and hybrids.  The physical properties of these  strings have not only altered the game, but have also provided a strong rationale for increasing the tension on the cross strings.

When a racquet is strung with the set tension the same in the mains and the crosses the differential between the two (as measured by a Stringmeter) is often in the 32 – 37% range. You read that correctly.  The mains will measure (on average) 35% tighter than the cross strings.  In the context of a full synthetic or a natural gut setup, this has not been an issue.  It has been status quo.  However, with full polys or poly hybrids it is less than ideal.  The differential in tension with poly-based strings should ideally fall in the range of 20 – 25%…no more.  When the differential in tension is brought closer together, the mains and crosses are able to work in unison with one another.  When they are further apart, (greater than 25%), the mains are punished until they stabilize and come closer in line with the crosses.  The result of this in the today’s world of polys is that the poly mains become overstretched and thus lose their tension and playability rapidly.  One easy way to extend the optimal life of your poly setup is to allow the crosses to support the mains.  This extends the useful playability by a considerable amount.

Bringing the mains and crosses closer in tension offers HUGE benefits for poly players. It allows players to string at lower reference tensions where polys will shine, it extends the useful playability of the stringbed and extends the time players can get solid performance before having to restring.  The easiest way to bring the mains and crosses closer to one another so they will work in unison is to increase the tension of the cross strings by approximately 4 pounds.  The simple act of altering tension in this manner will definitely lead to a noticeable increase in performance in most instances.  HOWEVER, when increasing the tension on the crosses it is possible to overstretch the poly, exceeding the elastic limits of the string.  This is most likely to occur on constant pull machines that overshoot tension.  Because of this potential pitfall we recommend keeping the tension on the crosses the same or up to 2 pounds lower than the mains and using extended pulling time before clamping off.  The extended pulling time on a constant pull machine (much more difficult to achieve this effect on a crank machine) will produce the desired outcome much more reliably than increasing the set tension.  We recommend keeping each cross under tension for 20 seconds before clamping off.  This may seem like it will add considerable time to the stringing process, but it really does not.  While the cross is under tension go ahead and pre-weave the next cross string.  After weaving the cross, release the tension and clamp off.  Stringing in this manner  is a bit awkward at first, but soon the stringer becomes fluid in working with this method.  The on court results are definitely worth the effort!


155 thoughts on “Varying tension on cross strings

  1. Kevin on said:

    If I use multifilament in my crosses and poly in mains, can’t I just string the mains 4 lbs looser than crosses? So, if I like full multi at 55 lbs, string crosses at 55 and mains (with the poly) at 51? No overstretch problem and solves after-the-stringing-main/cross-tension-differential problem too. Yes?

  2. GGTennis on said:


    In my opinion multis do not provide enough support for the polys and they allow the overstretching the polys that we are trying hard to correct. A soft solid core string is a much better solution. If you don’t want to use the L-TEC FLX which is designed to add softness, but also reach playing potential at lower tensions, then something like a Forten Sweet or PSG will work better than a multi. In regard to your question about tension numbers, keeping your syn gut crosses at 55 and dropping the poly to 51 makes sense to me.

  3. Peter on said:

    How about the Jaycee method of stringing without the L-tec strings?
    Does it make sense a multi main and cross with his method?

  4. GGTennis on said:

    You can use the method with any strings. It will create a different feel with multis, but the advantages of using it with polys just do not exist with multis because of the construction differences. If someone were to use it with multis it would most likely be because they will find lesser string movement and because they prefer the feel.

  5. Shereef on said:

    How about natural gut and a poly? I use Nat Gut on my mains and love the feel and longevity. I use Alu Rough or sometimes RPM on the crosses. My mains at 57 and crosses at 52. I do suffer fast tension loss on my crosses

  6. GGTennis on said:

    We use a difference of 4 lbs with a natural gut/poly hybrid. The natural gut is 4lbs tighter regardless of main or cross. In terms of poly tension loss, try one of our poly instead of the ALU Rough or RPM and extend pulling time on crosses. This should make an appreciable difference for you.

  7. gerald sing on said:

    i am playing with a yonex poly main and vs gut cross now. my first setup had the X at 2 lb lower than mains, then as variation tried a 3 lb difference. am liking the 3 lb case better. should i try 4 lb next for even more improvement.

  8. GGTennis on said:


    Tennis is all about finding what works best for you. There is not likely to be much difference between 3/4 pounds on the crosses. We use 4, but if you like 3, you may want to stick with it.

  9. William on said:

    I string my mains as you recommended in your older posts, waiting more than five seconds before clamping off. In this case, does the extended pulling time on cross strings bring their tension closer to the mains?
    Since i extended the pulling time on both the mains and the crosses?

    Should I lower the tensions in the mains instead?

    I usually string msv soft hex 1.20 / sppp 1.18 50/50.
    What do you suggest me to do?
    Same tensions, extend 5 seconds on mains 20 on crosses?
    50/48, extend 5 seconds on mains 20 on crosses?
    Or 48/50, extend 5 seconds on mains 20 on crosses?

    Hope to hear from you soon.

  10. GGTennis on said:

    Same tension. Extend 5 seconds on mains and 20 seconds on crosses is what I would recommend. Good luck!

  11. dtennis on said:

    Interesting article, so what you are saying, string my poly mains 2 lbs more than my multi crosses?

  12. Mark Moore on said:

    I took your advice – as I often do – and strung my MSV Co-Focus 17 at 44 lbs in the mains and 46 lbs in the crosses in my Head Head Youtek IG Extreme Pro 2.0. At this tension, my RA for the stringbed was about 45.

    The increase in playability and pocketing was noticeable. In your opinion, would I further increase the performance and playability of this set-up by increasing the difference in the mains and the crosses further?

    Given your experience, ideally, what would you say is the starting point sweet spot in your opinion knowing you like to keep the tensions of polys down typically in the Forties for optimum performance? Would you suggest 43 in the mains and 45 in the crosses, or a bit lower or higher?

  13. Mark Moore on said:

    Perhaps 44 in the mains and 48 in the crosses, or 42 in the mains and 46 in the crosses?

    • GGTennis on said:

      We typically use a 4 pound differential between mains and crosses when we do not use extended pulling times. (crosses +4). However, if 2 pounds difference works for you with your setup, then definitely stick with what is working for you. In terms of where to start…if you need more length, drop 2 pounds for a yard and likewise, if your ball is sailing, increase 2 pounds to bring it in.

  14. Mark Moore on said:

    I currently have three racquets strung to test this concept. One at 45 lbs in both mains and crosses (with a RA of forty-eight). The other is strung at 44 in the mains and 46 in the crosses (ala Roanic) and the last is at 42 in the mains and 46 in the crosses (as per GGTennis).

    So far, the full bed at 45# feels very comfortable and playable – with excellent pocketing. I like it. The racquet with the two pound differential seems to have a bit more spin and is a little crisper after one hour of hitting. I have yet to play test the racquet set up at 42/46. Stay tuned.

  15. Ron Huber on said:

    Here is an interesting observation. With most racquets I have played with that have an 18×20 string pattern, if the difference in string tension between Mains and Crosses exceeds +/- 2lbs I have had a hard time controlling my shots no matter what string combination I use. I typically play with Multi (Mains) and Poly (Crosses) and switching the two does not change anything.

    My current stringing technique does not adhere to your recommendations of a 5 sec wait before clamping on either Mains or Crosses.

    The same is not observed when using a racquet with 16×20 or 16×19 pattern. I have strung racquets with as much as +/- 5 lbs tension difference between Mains / Crosses on this type of string pattern and the control and overall play-ability does not suffer

    String racquets using a electronic stringing machine.

    Any hints on why this seems to be the case ?

    • Mark Moore on said:

      My Head YOUTEK Extreme Pro 2.0 is a 16/19 string pattern and seems to be fine with the differential.

      • Ron Huber on said:

        That is what I have also observed, the quandary is with an 18×20 string pattern.

        • GGTennis on said:


          The object is to increase the support for the mains. You are 100% correct, 4 lbs in a tight 18 x 20 pattern may indeed be too much of an increase. 2 lbs should achieve what you want in your situation. When we use the extended pulling time method with tight patterns (18 mains on a 100″ or smaller head) we actually install the crosses 2 – 4 lbs less than the mains. The extended pulling time ends up with a result similar to increasing the tension by 2 lbs.

          Hope this helps!

  16. Mark Moore on said:

    I have to say, after now playing with my Head YOUTEK Extreme Pro 2.0 (with a 16/19 string pattern) using a full bed of 17g poly at 42 lbs in the mains and 46 lbs in the crosses, I am loving the results. I am getting the bite and control of the higher string tension ANF the feel and pocketing of the lower string tension it seems at the same time! Not nearly as much “play” in the string bed or trampoline effect as a full bed at say 45 lbs. I am a believer!

    I now have three racquets strung at 4 lbs differentials at three different tension so I can vary which one I use based on the weather, the opponent, and the court (40/44 for those cold days with heavy balls up to 44/48 for those warmer days or bigger hitters). G&G, Would you think the 40/44 or a 46/50 set-up on one end or the other would prove most useful as the third racquet?

    The 42/46 seems to be my starting point and go to tension right now.

  17. GGTennis on said:


    I think it is a matter of personal preference. I like all my racquets to have uniform performance so I do not vary the tensions. However, I do string lower when the weather gets cold. In your case I suspect the higher tension will serve you better in hot weather and lower in colder weather. Glad you are enjoying the results!

  18. Mark Moore on said:

    I am really enjoying this set up! I have been playing now for about two months with my racquets strung in a full poly bed at the following tensions:


    I have found – especially this summer in California – that it is useful to be able to reach into your bag on a cool (or wet) day and play with the 40/44 or on an extremely hot dry day and play with the 44/48. Same can be said with playing against pushers vs. big hitters. Most days now I play with the 42/46. That seems to be the best combination of control and power. The lower I go the more feel I get.

    I am a believer.

  19. giff on said:

    re: Varying tension on cross strings.
    Any discussion of main/cross balance should include the word STIFFNESS. A racquet strung with the SAME string & tension for mains & crosses is fairly well balanced, not because the tensions are equal, but because the weave increases tension in the mains to roughly 133% = 4/3. The ratio of the width to the length of a racquet is 3/4. 4/3 x 3/4 is one! The mains & crosses are thus equally STIFF. This is a bit simplistic. The following affect main/cross balance in a hybrid: inherent string stiffness, draw tensions and tension loss. If you want perfection, measure the length of EVERY string & pull it PROPORTIONALLY!

    • GGTennis on said:

      Giff – Thank you for your comments and contribution to the thread. We do perform proportional stringing and have been using that method effectively for many years for customers with sensitive elbows and have trouble centering the ball.

  20. Justin Kim on said:

    Hello, I own a couple of Head Youtek Extreme Pro 2.0s, which I know are somewhat of a stiff racquet.

    I am hoping to string a set of Yonex Pro Poly Spin on one and a Tourna Big Hitter Black 17 on another. Do you have any recommendations regarding tension for this stiff racquet?

    I hit with a “Federer Forehand” (halfway of an eastern/semi western) and am an aggressive baseline that tends to hit the most winners AND unenforced errors. I am normally accustomed to the mid 50s regarding tension but starting to realize my arm cant handle hitting with racquet that feels like a 2×4.

  21. GGTennis on said:

    Not familiar with the Yonex string. If you are not going to change to a less stiff frame I would suggest adding weight/dampening material to handle of frame. If using poly-based strings I would try MSV Focus Hex +38 at 46/49 or WeissCANNON TurboTwist at 50/53.

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  23. Philip Belohlavek on said:

    I’ve been doing a lot of reading concerning hybrid stringing and after reading this link I decided to try it. I have msv hepta twist in the mains at 62# and wilson ultra synthetic gut in crosses at 66#. Quite happy about the setup. My main question is about the pros. After reading a list of many top players, I saw that the ones that have different tensions have mains about 2-4# higher than crosses. Why is this so if you recommend the opposite? Shouldn’t the pros know best? Thanks for your insight. Any comment about my setup?? ;-))

  24. GGTennis on said:

    In general pros string more frequently than recreational and league players. The reason we string the crosses higher is to achieve adifferential in tension between mains and crosses of 20-25% vs 30-35%. When the crosses are tighter they better support the mains. The result is a stringbed that plays like freshly strung for an extended period of time. Most pros do not worry about longetivity or that the strings maintain playing properties for an extended period of time because they prefer a fresh racquet for every match/set/change of balls.

  25. Philip Belohlavek on said:

    Thanks for explanation. I was also curious about the lower tensions the pros use. For the last 25+ years I’ve been using a relatively high tension (breaking crosses about once every week or two – sometimes I replace only the crosses – I think the poly would last forever [although I know that they loose tension quickly]). I also read that it seems to be possible to lower the tension when using poly. Would you recommend me trying it? Thanks again for your advice.

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  27. Michael on said:

    Hi, I play with Wilson Pro Staff 6.1 95 (the old classic), and I have been using Wilson Sensation strings for many years. Due to durability issues, I recently switched form 17g to 16g, but frankly it doesn’t last much longer, typically around 6 hours (I’m about 5.5 level). I string Sensation on a drop weight machine at 50/48 tension.

    So I decided to try a poly string – I want the softest poly available, so I ordered Dunlop Black Widow 18g, as well as Solinco Tour Bite Soft 17g.

    What tension do you recommend for full bed poly, and for a poly/Sensation hybrid?

    Also, I looked at the string stiffness ratings:
    and I’m confused because I see that Black Widow string is rated significantly lower than Sensation even at the same gauge. I was under impression that any poly string will always be stiffer than any multifillament string, so I’m confused.

    • GGTennis on said:


      BW and TBS are interesting string offerings, but while the crazy lab tests may show them to play softest, the on-court experience is somewhat different. It all has to do with tension and how the string was tested. In our opinion ANY TEST that does not test the string in the context of a full stringbed is sketchy. Testing a 1′ section of string is not the same as a full stringbed. That said a soft poly like the MSV Focus Hex +38 or WC TurboTwist will probably deliver the feel and performance you are seeking as long as you string no higher than mid 50’s.

      Lower tensions (low to mid 40’s) with other soft strings, like Silverstring and Scorpion may even be better.

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  29. Iain on said:

    I have a wilson prostaff 100l which i normally string with luxilon alu power rough at 56lbs one piece with a constant pull machine. Any suggestions for what tension i should string mains and crosses using two piece method? thanks

  30. GGTennis on said:

    Iain – I can not tell you how to string and I do not claim to know everything about stringing. However, if you were coming to me for stringing I would suggest a lower tension. I would likely string that frame using a reference tension of approx. 46 lbs which would equate to 46 lbs mains and 50 lbs crosses. I would use a 2 piece method.

  31. Thomas on said:

    Hi, I am looking at getting my head radical 18×20 racket restrung and am looking at getting a poly and a multifilament. Can I ask if: a)you would recommend a poly in the mains or crosses, b)a multifilament would compliment a poly and c)should the crosses be tighter or looser in this tight string bed. Thank you

  32. GGTennis on said:

    Thomas – I will do my best to share my thoughts.

    1. I would not recommend blending a poly with a multi. It’s just a very bad marriage. First, the multi will shred quickly…it can’t stand up to the stiffness of a poly, much less a profiled poly. Most importantly the multi does not support the poly well enough and results in subpar play and longevity of the setup. Find a soft solid core instead for your hybrid. We like WeissCANNON New Element 500.

    If using a poly/soft solid core hybrid the poly would go into the mains. Reverse does not work so well. If using a poly in the cross the best partner is a natural gut main if you are not using a full poly setup.

    Good luck!

    • GGTennis on said:

      And crosses should be +4lbs tighter than mains for best results.

      • Thomas on said:

        That all makes sense thanks, although would +4lbs tighter not be too much on a tight 18×20 string bed. Also what tension would work well. I play alot and have just been noticing a little discomfort around the elbow. Should I therefore move away from polys altogether?

        • GGTennis on said:

          We use several different tensions with Radical hybrids, an approx. average would be 39/43. +4 is not too tight at those tensions. With elbow discomfort make sure to use a softer poly…maybe something like MSV Focus Hex +38 or WeissCANNON Scorpion.

          • Thomas on said:

            Thats great thanks. I have given these instructions to my stringer and hopefully the dicomfort will die down. If the problem does persist would you recommend a full bed of multi’s?

            And finally, the frames themselves are several seasons old and have had their fair share of playing time. Is it possible, or have you heard of cases where frames can just go dead and lose all their feel? Perhaps this is causing to the problem also.

          • GGTennis on said:

            Full multi, if high quality/high thread count can be effective for some in combating tennis elbow. Of course it plays much differently so may take some adjustment.

            Frames can fatigue over time or if strung frequently, i.e. every 2 – 3 days. For the most part they last a VERY long time. I am still using frames from the 1990’s (Prince Mono) and they are just fine. The other thing that can weaken them is if they are stored in extremely high temperatures. This usually occurs when players leave them in the truck of a car during the heat of the summer.

  33. Thomas on said:

    Hi, tried the new strings with the tensions recomended above. Although very windy and not ideal playing conditions, I did notice an increase in power with less effort and very comfortable when volleying. The strings though still felt a bit dull and am wondering how I can inject a bit of spark and bite to them (hope that makes sense). Any advise would be great.

    Also what would the characteristics of a 16×19 string bed be compared to my 18×20.

    Thanks, Thomas

  34. GGTennis on said:

    Hmm… In order to avoid dull feeling you would need a lively poly like the +38 or possibly cross with natural gut.

    A more open pattern will need to be strung more tightly. It would suffer slightly from directional control but may offer slightly easier access to spin.

  35. Don on said:

    I have proKennex Q5 and love tennis elbow friendly string Technibre NRG2 17 guage strung at 57 pounds full bed for both mains and crosses. The strings gives me great power, control, and ball pocketing, but string breaks after 2 weeks and looses tension after 1-2 weeks. Can I hybrid this with like a Volkl Cyclone Tour 17guage for mains to keep string feeling fresh longer in terms of tension and help with string break.

    If I like everything of string and just also looking for my spin should I string Volkl Cyclone 17 Guage main like 52 And NRG2 cross at 56? Or go even lower?

    Volkl has prepackage hybrid of called PSYCHO where they have Volkl Cyclone as mains and Volkl Power Fiber II but since I like the Technibre NRG2 was thinking substituting in crosses with NRG2 since I know I already like it. Playtester for Volkl Cyclone Tour 17 seem to say since it softer than original Cyclone they bump tension to recommend around 53-56.

    Can you share me what you think and what tension you would recommend? Thanks in advance. Great article and community thread!!!

  36. GGTennis on said:


    If you think a full setup of NRG2 has poor durability a combination of Volkl Cyclone and and multi will be 10x worse. Volkl Cyclone is a horribly stiff string with an extremely sharp profile. It will chew through a multi in no time at all. In terms of hybrids consisting of polys and multis, we do not believe they provide acceptable playability or durability for the majority of players, but there are some exceptions. The exceptions are mainly flatter hitters with slower swing speeds. Because of this we do not playtest or use combinations of poly/multi and thus are not able to comment on specific setups other than to say we believe that combination is almost always a bad idea.

    If you are looking for more spin you can try a soft poly main with a natural gut cross or soft SOLID CORE (not multi) and string the polys in the mid to upper 40’s with the cross +4lbs higher. Alternately you could string full poly with something soft like WC turbotwist or MSV Hex +38 in the mid 40’s. If spin is not a priority you could try a 16ga multi with some poly fibers. WC 6StarString is an excellent choice in this type of string and the MSV Soft Control is also extremely good.

    Hope this helps!

    • Don on said:

      Thank you for your advice, couple follow-ups:

      1) My current set-up is full set-up 57lbs of NRG2 17 gauge both main and crosses, if full bed with same multi NRG2 string and I like around 57#, can I benefit by +/- 4 lbs differentials or is that only with different strings? Meaning go for 57# crosses NRG2 and main pull at 53# ?

      2) I am still confused by the prepackage popular hybrids like Babolat ProHurricane and Xcel (multi), Volkl cyclone and Fibre II (multi) – I don’t see any pre-package soft poly mains with natural gut cross, or can you recommend a pre-package one that you like and arm friendly?

      3) If not prepackage, can you give some specific string recommendation that is arm friendly for hybrid:
      – MAINS SOFT POLY – can you recommend 1-2 that arm friendly?
      – Natural Gut for cross that not break bank and arm friendly – can you recommend 1-2?
      – Soft SOLID CORE (not multi) that arm friendly – recommend 1-2?
      – FULL PLOY – WC turbotwist or MSV Hex – I assume good on arm?

      4) What is your experience with ProKennix Q5 295 (315 was nice, but too heavy for me so I just lead weight the 295 little bit) and Technibre NRG2 for “Arm Friendly and tennis elbow”?

  37. wen cheng on said:

    love your website. New stringer. I string for my son an accomplished junior and stringbreaker. current setup in a wilson juice 100s 15 by 16 string pattern is luxilon 4G rough at 54/58. lasts about 2 hrs tops. any recommendations about string tension in an extended string bed pattern?

  38. GGTennis on said:


    Thank you for visiting our web site. The new open pattern racquets are definitely a challenge in terms of durability for many players. Unfortunately we have found the best solution is for players using these frames to purchase a stringing machine and learn to string their frames. It’s the only cost effective solution to all the string breaking.

    The core of the problem is the strings move so much and so violently that the movement creates immense friction and the poly-based strings are literally are melting. Personally I believe the open patterns are a fad that will go away soon, but if the player is somehow able to control the open pattern frames and enjoy the way it plays, then restringing is just a fact of life.

  39. Leandro on said:

    I owned the “Head speed rev”. I have shoulder problems. I tryed the head multi string but I do not have a good feel on it. What hybrid do you suggest considering shoulder problems + great feel. Thanks

  40. srini on said:

    I am planning to use a co-poly string for my racquet and the desired tension is 54 lb. What should my mains and crosses tension be ?

  41. Theo on said:

    I’ve been playing with the Prince EXO3 Silver 115 for a few years and have been stringing it with Prince Premier LT 16. The Silver 115 has a 16×19 string pattern. I’ve been stringing both mains and crosses at 65#. I’m a 60-year old 4.5 player ranked nationally in my age group.

    I’m switching to the new frame, Premier 115L ESP, which is the same frame with a 14×16 string pattern. I strung my first frame at the same tension, 65#, and it seems too soft for my game compared to the Silver 115. With the ESP (extreme string pattern), should I be stringing at a higher tension to get the same effect? Should I be stringing the mains and crosses differently?

  42. GGTennis on said:


    In my opinion these wide open patterns are a fad that will fade away. There simply is not enough control. Switching to these frames forces players to change their game. While the marketing that the new open patterns produce more spin is true, they conveniently forget to tell you there is a price to be paid, and that price is a sacrifice in control unless you change your game and play everything with excessive spin in order to keep it between the lines. With that frame an increase in tension will not likely give you what you are seeking. You would need to go with a very thick, almost dead string. Poly would be the way to go, but it is out of the question given the specs of the frame and the potential for tennis elbow. Given that, I would look for the thickest synthetic string I could find and string it at whatever Prince lists as the maximum tension for your frame. Wish I had better alternatives. Maybe you will find something that works and my skepticism will be proven wrong. I hope if you do that you will return and let me know. I am not well versed in 115 sq in frames and probably can learned from players like you who are getting some direct experience.

    • Theo on said:

      Thanks for your thoughts. You confirm my thoughts that the open string pattern isn’t something that will help my game.

      I’m hoping that the ESP open string pattern will go away for next year’s 115 model. I”m also hoping Prince does not continue the trend to keep reducing the size of the oversize frames. I played with Prince’s 125 sq. in. frames, then they were reduce to 118 and now are down to 115.

      I play doubles and mixed at the national age group level. I serve/volley and return/volley and have pretty flat ground strokes. I have the control to handle the larger frames (115+) and like the extra power I get from these frames. Unfortunately, I feel that the new racquets are not designed for my game.


  43. GGTennis on said:

    In general the oversize frame market is neglected. Honestly it’s insane. Currently there are virtually NO REASONABLE choices for players who prefer OS frames. The few that are on the market are too light (customization can help with this) and much too stiff. (Customization can not help with this!) There are many players who play at a wide variety of levels who could benefit from a well designed OS frame. I fail to see why manufacturers would overlook and blatantly ignore this segment of the market. I’d love to see many more OS options in head sizes ranging from 110 – 120 with respectable weight, a HL or even balance, a flex rating in the low 60’s and a variety of beam widths. I’d also like to see the traditional 16 main string pattern AND I believe an 18 main would also be a great option for those who need a little more control with the larger head sizes. Anyway, I have seen many, many new line come out throughout my lifetime and none ever seem to explore these specs. Too bad.

  44. Jeff on said:

    I’m confused. The author says mains are 35% tighter yet recommends stringing crosses 2 lbs lower. Wouldn’t this only serve to increase the differential even more? If the mains are 35% tighter, shouldn’t i increase rather than decrease the tension of my crosses to bring the strings in unison and increase playability and longevity? (I’m new to stringing and have a Neos 1000 + Wise).


  45. Allen on said:

    I have been using gut mains(Wilson 17) ( and Cyclone Tour(17 gauge) in Crosses. I string it 53/50. I play with the BB London Tour. I am not a string breaker so how long would you keep this set up in the stick since the mains are gut. I assume since the mains take the brunt I can keep it in there for awhile. The Cyclones are real soft so I assume this set up will not predispose me to arm issues which I have had in the past.

  46. John on said:

    Very good article, thank you.

    In one of the posts you mentioned that natural gut should be strung 4 lbs higher than poly. Is this assuming a constant pull machine? On a regular crank machine would you string the mains and the crosses at the same tension (gut mains/poll crosses)?

    Thanks again.

  47. GGTennis on said:

    The 4 pound suggestion would be the same regardless of machine used. Of course there are some exceptions, but for the most part we use a 4 pound differential in our shoppe.

    • John on said:

      Thank you for getting back to me so fast.

      Would a 4 lbs differential have any effect on the long term integrity of the racquet? I know natural gut retains it’s tension better to begin with.

  48. GGTennis on said:

    With the possible exception of frames with RA’s below 55 you should not experience distortion if using a machine with solid mounting. We have tested 4 pounds differential and measured many, many times and when there is some distortion it is usually very negligible (1/32″) and on the softer frames. When we go to 5, 6, 7 differential we sometimes find distortion beyond what is acceptable. I can not recall measuring a frame lower than 55 which is where that number comes from. Minimal distortion with a 110″ 18 x 20 frame with 55 RA.

    • John on said:

      You guys have gone to great lengths to test these things – sounds like fun!

      I’ve noticed that some polys are stiffer than others. Like Lux 4g is much stiffer than Head Sonic Pro. Would you still use the 4 lbs rule when stringing with a softer poly and nat gut mains?

      • GGTennis on said:

        Yes, we would still adhere to the 4 lb rule. Of course, if you wanted to experiment to see if less than 4 with stiffer polys felt better for you, then by all means, experiment and see. Everyone has personal preferences and sometimes conventions need to be adjusted for the player and his/her particular equipment.

  49. Barrymer on said:

    I’m new to your site and find it very interesting……although confusing at times. So I’ll tell you my particular situation and hope you can help me.

    I’m a 4.5 player who plays mostly doubles on red clay. I use a couple Wilson Six.One 95 racquets with 16 x 18 string pattern that are now about 6 years old. I string with Luxalon ALU Big Banger in the mains and Gamma TNT classic on the crosses – both at 58 lbs. I am not unhappy with how these play, but after reading on your site about the pros using lower tensions and your recommendation to string the crosses at a higher tension, I’m wondering if I could get a little more power by making some changes without losing control. What would you recommend for me?

    Thanks so much.

  50. GGTennis on said:

    If you are happy with your setup then there is no real reason to change unless you want to see if you can be even happier.

    Your combo is decent, although ALU loses tension rapidly. If I were stringing for you and you told me you wanted a little more power from current setup and not change strings, I would suggest trying ALU in mains at 52 and TNT on crosses at 56. Of course I believe that there are many poly options that would work better for you if you are not restringing after every match or two.

    • Barrymer on said:

      I took your advise and strung at 52 lbs. on the mains and 56 lbs. on the crosses. It’s only been a couple weeks, but I love the result. I have a little more power with no loss of control and the strings stay in place so I don’t have to constantly adjust them like I used to have to do. I love playing with this new string setup!

      You guys know what you’re talking about. Thanks so much for the excellent advice.

  51. Tarmo on said:

    >> Can you please give me advice what tension i should have on main and cross strings to get even stringbed?
    >> I use Wilson Steam 105S racket 16×15 pattern and Wilson Ripspin 15G co-poly strings on bouth mains and crosses.
    >> Recommendation on racket says ca 26-30kg but it does not tell how much less tension i should have on cross strings becouse they are much shorter.
    My question here is more directed for it if you know the tested difference on kg compared mains to crosses to get the same final effect to tennisball?
    As you know if i tension bouth cross and mains with 30kg the cross strings are much stiffer in bed as they are shorter and same type as mains!
    I will be very grateful of any answer from your experience;)

  52. ErAl on said:

    I am new on the site and thanks all for sharing and experiences .
    I have a son 10yo and is a clup player plays 12 hours a week.
    And he plays with babolat and he plays very good spin and weak in power.
    So i have set up a hybrid for him as the below improve his power lack also his strength is spin strokes.
    Crosses wilson nxt control 1.30mm at 48lbs
    Mains wilson nxt power 1.25mm at 50lbs
    Please share your thoughts of the above hybrid.
    What can you suggest we may try next time ( wilson babolat technifibre we are familiar )
    He needs power and his style is spin play ( your suggestion suggestion may help him less edfort more spin )thanks for sharing and be good you all always.

  53. Eugene on said:

    Hi! thanks for your article. I need an advice. I use Volkl Cyclone 17g at 53lbs on my Yonex Ezone AI 98. I want to soften it up a bit and use in hybrid with Prince Synthetic Gut. What gauge do I have to choose for crosses to complement Cyclone 17g mains at 53lbs and what tension should it be? I have two options: 16g or 17g of Prince SG. Maybe 16g and stay with 53lbs at crosses?

    Thank you in advance!

  54. GGTennis on said:

    Volkl Cyclone is a vicious poly in terms of stiffness and sharp edges. Because of the sharp edges you really have no choice but to go with 16 or 15L cross in order to approach reasonable durability. If that does not work for you, I would suggest going with a softer poly, full bed and perhaps drop tension a couple more pounds.

    In terms of tension I usually prefer increasing the tension on the cross string. With Yonex frames, however, I drop the tension on the crosses 2# and use and extended pulling technique. Keep crosses under tension for at least 30 seconds using a constant pull machine.

  55. Mark on said:

    As you know I have been stringing my cross strings 4 pounds higher than my main strings for some time. I found the results to be outstanding – as you had suggested. Recently I’ve switched to a YONEX racket and – as you point out in the post above and from others at the racket company – they suggest actually decreasing the crosses by 2 pounds on those rackets to do the shape of the head. Given that I’m playing with a full bit of Poly, which advice should I follow for best results? Should I maintain the 4 pounds higher tension in the crosses or should I drop the tension on the crosses by 2 pounds is the record company recommends – or some variation of the two? What do you recommend?

  56. GGTennis on said:


    I’m not sure I have an absolute answer for you to this one, but I will tell you what we do unless requested otherwise by the customer.

    With full poly in a Yonex we string the crosses 2# lower than the mains and use extended pulling time. This is the best compromise we have found for creating the stringbed results we are seeking.

  57. GGTennis on said:

    All my machines are constant pull so that is not an issue for me. I suppose I would string them at the same tension. I am torn because I know that polys play best when there is a tension differential of 20 – 25% between mains and crosses. I am also older school and can remember when Yonex frames used to break frequently at 10:00 and 2:00. Today’s frames are admittedly a little better. However, Yonex used to recommend a 5% differential in tension between mains and crosses with crosses being reduced. They said it was to improve play, but in my mind it was because it helped reduce stress on the frame at these critical positions. Today’s frames tend to be much more robust, but I remember the old frames and have always strung Yonex with crosses at 5% less than mains. However, that conflicts with how polys play best so I just try to find the best compromise.

    • Mark on said:

      And in your opinion, would this still apply with the EZONE ai 98 racket in there line? As you know, the EZONE rackets are more rounded in head shape than the typical YONEX racket. Would the standard YONEX tension rules still apply?

  58. GGTennis on said:

    Less isometric may make a difference. Excellent point. The most problematic frames in the past were quite square-ish. While generally if it says Yonex and I am not using poly I string the crosses 5% less I suppose if the head is less isometric and more rounded then the 5% process could probably be eliminated. Maybe try it with increasing tension on crosses. Measure frame before and after stringing and then see if there is deformation. If not, you should be 100% good.

    • Mark on said:

      One other thought I had was to simply take the poly tension standard of +4# in the crosses and reduce by 2# due to the “Yonex Factor”. Instead of stringing the EZONE Ai98 at 48/52 going to 48/50, as an example. In short, I would be honoring both strings of thought in doing so.

      What would you personally do to start then? There are 4 obvious variations hereto test – with the mains +2#, even tension, -2#, and -4# (where I am now).

      I suppose I will have to simply test them out.

  59. Huy on said:

    Hi,new to the site and it seems very helpful. I have one of the new Prince Graphite Classics (not Longbody). I’ve been using Volkl Cyclone-Gut setup. When I use the gut in the mains and the poly in the crosses I get my best performance (feel, power, spin), but the mains get shredded quickly. I’ve replaced the gut with NXT Control, and it does last longer, but it still shreds. I string it around 58lbs. Is there another string combination or setup you would recommend? I’ve tried full poly setups and get a wicked amount of spin, but they really lack feel for me. If I go for the poly in the mains and a different string type in the crosses, they don’t seem to generate the same amount of spin. Perhaps it’s just how I’m setting up my strings in that case.

  60. GGTennis on said:

    Volkl Cyclone is a horrible option for a hybrid with natural gut or multis. The edges are simply too sharp and they chew through the opposite string. Try either a round poly like MSV Co-Focus or a shaped poly with rounded edges like WeissCANNON Black5Edge. Both MSV and WC polys are vastly superior to the Volkl string in terms of partnering with a natural gut. Good luck!

  61. Mark on said:

    I am in the process of testing a 17g and 18g of the same poly strung in my Yonex Ai98 with the standard +4# tension in the crosses at 46/50. I expected the 17g to have a bit less feel – and it does – however, I expected the 18g to have bit more power and comfort (which to this point, it does not). The 18g definitely has more spin potential, but I am surprised how stiff the string bed feels at the same tension compared to the 17g at the same exact tension. Both play well and have excellent control, but I am confused by the lack of comfort and pop in the 18g string, so far. Is this common?

  62. GGTennis on said:


    Yes. Thinner strings are stiffer. This is very common. Definitely not in your imagination.

    • Mark on said:

      From what I recall, you tend to recommend thicker polls for best performance. Is this still true? Which gauge string in any line of polls do you feel represents the sweet spot these days?

    • Mark on said:

      From what I recall, you tend to recommend thicker polls for best performance. Is this still true? Which gauge string in any line of polys do you feel represents the sweet spot these days?

  63. GGTennis on said:

    It depends on stringbed density and size of frame. For today’s modern 16 x 19 with 100sq in we tend to prefer either a 16ga main with a 17ga cross or a 17ga main with a 17L gauge cross. It’s very difficult to go wrong with any WeissCANNON or MSV products.

    • Eral on said:

      Hi i just read ” For today’s modern 16 x 19 with 100sq in ” and you may help me that
      Ä° play with tecnifibre 305 gr and balanced and 95 head .
      What raquet can you suggest me as i replace tec 305 with.
      It will great to hear your suggestion. Thanks

  64. Michel Martineau on said:

    I strung my wilson 6.1 95s with L-Tech 3s mains and mantis power synthetic cross both at 46 using Jet method. The 20 seconds extended time for the crosses got me a reading of 40 wich is maybe to tigh considering the mains where averaging 45 ( stringmeter ). Should I not use the extended time with mantis synthetic ?

    Michel Martineau.

  65. GGTennis on said:

    With synthetics we typically do not use extended pulling time, but rather just increase tension +3 or +4 from reference tension. However, if we do use the JET method we reduce the tension on the crosses to reference minus 2.

  66. Tim on said:

    “The easiest way to bring the mains and crosses closer to one another so they will work in unison is to increase the tension of the cross strings by approximately 4 pounds.”

    “Because of this potential pitfall we recommend keeping the tension on the crosses the same or up to 2 pounds lower than the mains and using extended pulling time before clamping off.”

    A bit confused here. Are you recommending that with full poly the crosses should be 4 pounds higher than the mains or 2 pounds lower than the mains?

    PS Thanks for the great service as always! Ordered yesterday here in ATL and arrived today. Amazing! 🙂

  67. GGTennis on said:

    You are correct, I could have been more clear. I can see how it can be confusing.

    Ultimately with full poly we want an outcome where the crosses are measuring approx 20 – 25% lower than the mains. (Can be measured with a stringmeter) To achieve this outcome you can increase the tension of the crosses by 4 pounds, however, if increasing the tension takes it beyond the elastic limits it is doing you no good. For those instances we recommend using extended pulling time. With most polys we find that in order to reach the desired outcomes we need to actually drop the tension on the crosses by 2 lbs when using extended pulling time. This is not always the case, it can vary according to the string. Occasionally there is no tension change needed when using extended pulling time, but generally reaching the desired outcome will require a 2 pound drop with extended pulling.

    Glad the order arrived nice a quick for you. Thank you for your business…it is most appreciated!

  68. Tim on said:


    To add another wrinkle, to maximize main-snap back, which of the following would you recommend:

    A. 49#/52#


    B. 52#/49#


    c. something else?

    Normally I use a VS Touch/Focus Hex hybrid at 58/54 with the gut having a slight pre-stretch. This full bed poly is a bit of an experiment for me. Frame is a Pure Storm GT modified to 336g, 8.5 HL, SW 325.

    Strings in question are 4G Soft and Focus Hex 1.10. I prefer Focus Hex in the crosses since it resists denting/notching so well allowing the mains to move and snap back for quite a long time. When I’ve tried 4G as a cross I’ve enjoyed its low tension loss but it tends to notch really fast.

  69. Jan on said:

    Hi GGTennis,
    Thanks for the info!
    At my local tennis shop they string the cross string 1kg less tight than the main string because the cross strings are shorter than the main strings and therefore relatively more tight (this is what they say and recommend to anyone). This seems however to conflict with your advise. I’m a little confused. Note that I use copoly strings ( both m&c) and I’m most interested in the least amount of tension loss. Also note that they use a pro babolat Electric stringing machine and string for some tennis pro’s.
    Furthermore your advise with regard to poly strings is to not go higher than 52lbs. What will happen with the string in terms of tension loss when I go higher? Is it true that when My racquet is strung 24kg tension loss is higher than let’s say when it’s strung 22kg. How definitive is the ”52″ lbs (23,5kg)?
    Thanks in advance for your reply!

  70. GGTennis on said:

    Everything about string tension is a matter of personal preference. There are many people who believe exactly as your tennis shop. Nothing wrong with this as long as you are enjoying your setup.

    In terms of our recommendation the ultimate goal is to get the tension differential between the mains and crosses to be in the 20 – 25% range. With no tension differential the difference is usually 30 – 35%. With a reduction in tension on crosses it is probably closer to 35%.

    When the mains and crosses are closer together in terms of tension, at least with polys and co-polys, they tend to hold tension and playing properties longer because they are working in unison.

    52 is a general guide we use. Most polys can reach 52 without overstretching. We like lower, but 52 is max we use. There are some newer copolys that we string slightly higher, but these have more elasticity. Strings like MSV Focus Hex +38 and WeissCANNON TurboTwist. Will .5 kilo over make a difference? Not likely, but in general the only frames we string at the top end of the poly range are Babolats because of the power and woofer grommet systems they use.

    If polys are overstretched and not supported with crosses being closer in tension to the mains, then yes, certainly tension will be lost more rapidly.

    Hope this helps.

    • Barrymer on said:

      To be clear, are you saying that if a racquet is strung with the same string in the mains and crosses and at the same tension in both as well, the cross strings will be looser than the mains? And that’s why you recommend cross strings at 4 lbs. more tension?

      I followed your recommendation and I really like the result, but I’m still trying to wrap my head around the theory.


    • Jan on said:

      Thank you for your extensive reply!
      I use signum pro strings, are these ‘more elastic’ strings and therefore can be strung let’s say slightly higher than 52 lbs or do you recommend Max 52lbs?
      Kind regards, Jan

  71. GGTennis on said:

    Yes. The crosses will be approx 30% looser than mains and this has to do with friction. The fact that they are shorter than mains is not enough to compensate for friction. Can be verified using a stringmeter.

  72. Tim on said:

    We tried this approach as described above (56/59) and strongly disliked it. Far less spin potential than stringing the crosses lower.

    Control was fine. It’s just that the mains don’t move as freely. Perhaps the tighter crosses are putting extra pressure on the mains?

    Whatever the reason we’re definitely going back to crosses at lower tension (-3 to -4 pounds) as the spin potential is so much better, whether hybrid or homogeneous.

  73. GGTennis on said:


    In terms of Signum Pro, they offer a variety of strings. The Poly Plasma should be fine at 53/54 max tension. I’m not sure about MegaForce. Poly Deluxe should be fine at same tensions as the Plasma. The other Signum Pro strings may vary. Just let me know which ones you are using and if I have experience with them I will share.


    Thanks for your feedback. Yes, whether you prefer crosses tighter or lower than mains is a personal preference. For you it sounds as if lower works better because you realize better spin. In your setup that may very well be the case and you should definitely stick with what works best for you.

    I have tried both and for many years was in the camp where I strung crosses lower. Once I went to poly and switched to tighter crosses at low tensions, there was simply no going back for me. In my frame with my setups I do not experience far less spin potential. (I am not saying that you don’t.) Spin potential is relatively equal from my experience.

    With full poly we stand by our recommendations of increasing crosses and getting the differential between 20 – 25%. Our polys simply hold their playing properties significantly longer when we achieve this result.

    • Jan on said:

      I use signum pro tornado in mains and hyperion in crosses. Tension loss is high when strung 26kg in mains and 25kg in crosses, therefore much interested in your recommendations.

      I’m also considering the poly plasma string since that one is the one with the least tension loss (as per their string descriptions). Besides the poly plasma is one of the highest rated poly strings in terms of tension stability (stringforum survey 2014). What are your thoughts?

      I’m playing with a yonex ai98 and asked their customer service About the ‘5 percent rule’ which was also mentioned before in this forum. Their reply:

      Thank you very much for contacting YONEX.

      As for the inquiry, there is no such a rule as the main string should be “5%” tighter than the cross. It should be OK if the original frame shape of the racquet is precisely maintained when it’s strung. The racquet may get broken if the original shape is heavily deformed due to any of the stringing tensions(main/cross), so please be careful.

      Best regards,
      YONEX CO.,LTD.
      International Sales Div.

      Final question:
      What would you recommend? (1) full bed of 53 lbs or (2) mains 49 lbs and crosses 53 lbs (I’m interested in the least tension loss And control, thereby not going higher than 53 lbs as per your recommendation.

      Thanks again!

  74. GGTennis on said:

    Signum Pro makes some excellent strings. I am fan of the Plasma and yes, it holds tension well. I also like the Hyperion very much. Not as big of a fan of the Tornado, but then again, I am not a fan of twisted strings in general.

    Yonex no longer recommends stringing crosses 5% lower, but many of the older stringers remember a time when they made this recommendation. At the time they were having issues with some of their frames breaking at 10:00 and 2:00. The problem was most prevalent with the Kournikova stick–the Ultimum RQ Ti 1500, though others had the same issue. Yonex has sense made adjustments to construction and materials and this is no longer the issue it once was. I have increased tension on crosses at lower tensions with no issues or frame distortion.

    If you were coming to me and wanted the best possible tension maintenance in the Signum Pro line I would suggest going with Poly Plasma. I would go with the mains one gauge thicker than the crosses. I would also string the mains and crosses at 21kg using an extended pulling time on the crosses. If the stringer is not familiar with extended pulling, then I would increase the tension to 23kg.

    Hope this helps.

  75. Michel Martineau on said:

    HI John..
    After the L tech 3s / mantis power set up ( wich i like vers much ) I want to try natural gut / poly hybrid
    and if I understood correctly your recommandation I will string the gut ( mains ) at 50 and the crosses
    at 46 with 20 seconds extended pulling time.
    Would the L tech 3s be a good choice for the crosses ? I also have some L tech 5s.

    Thanks for your help.

    Michel Martineau.

  76. GGTennis on said:

    Either will play nicely with the natural gut. The 3S may be less durable in the hybrid setup. For best durability we suggest the 4S as the cross.

  77. Pete C on said:

    I recently developed pretty bad tennis elbow (from non-tennis activity!), and would like to change my string setup to try to help. I’ve used NXT DuraMax 16 at 57lbs for years. Racquet is nTour 95. I just picked up some VS Touch 16 natural gut. What tension would you recommend?

  78. Eric F on said:

    Can you please clarify. If I normally string at 54 lbs both mains and crosses and would like to try stringing with 4 lbs tigher in crosses as recommended, should I set the tension to be 54 mains and 58 crosses or 50 mains and 54 crosses. I am confused as to whether the reference tension should be reflected in the mains or the crosses. Thanks

  79. Tom on said:

    How about strings that are made up from different materials (poly cores with multi wraps) such as head fxp tour, texhnifibre x code or wilson nxt control?
    Would they benefit from increasing the tension in the crosses and by how much (in kg)

    • GGTennis on said:


      Excellent question. In short, we will have to explore it further. We know the importance of keeping the crosses within 20 – 25% of mains in full poly setup and even a poly hybrid with poly mains is critical in terms of extending the useful playing life of the stringbed. This is not the case with non polys. With non-polys it becomes a matter of personal preference whether or not the crosses are installed at higher tension, lower tension or same tension as mains. With the poly/syn strings, my initial thought is to keep the +4 differential, but I am not as sure it is as important with this type of string as it is with a poly-based offering.

  80. Georg on said:

    hey, would you still recommend stringing the cross string 4lb(2KG or kp) tighter an oversize racket (head radical tour agassi) 18×19?

    or only 2 lb (1 kP) tighter on the cross string?

    i definately noticed the 31 kg/33 KG 17g all-poly-string much better performance wise than gut/poly hybrid 33/33.

  81. JAMES on said:

    I am curious what, if any tension increase for the crosses I should consider in my Yonex vcore tour G stung with NRG2 18 mains and Gosen Micro Sheep synthetic gut crosses 17. I currently string at 47 lbs both. And is working pretty good I used to use poly in crosses at lower tension but I started getting arm problems and switched to multi or multu synthetic gut. It has slowly improved the discomfort and I still get decent spin and more power. Looking to maximize the string life and playability, Im not a string breaker. Any suggestions?

  82. Barney Yee on said:

    Your article makes reference to constant pull machines. If I have a drop weight machine , is the recommendation +4 cross for full poly. I normally string mains and crosses by weaving 1 string ahead before moving the clamp. Should I stick with +2 or +4 on the cross ?

  83. GGTennis on said:


    There are no hard and fast rules, but I would suggest +4 on the crosses for you. Have a terrific day!

  84. Giuseppe on said:

    Hi, would really appreciate some guidance. I play with a Wilson Blade 98s. Decided to try some of the pre packaged hybrid packs to get more spin. Currently using Head Gravity (monofilaments) strung at 54/52. The mains move quite a bit. Also intend to try Kirscbaum Hybrix spin (monogut and multifilament) and Wilson Spin Duo (rip spin and synthetic gut). I’m an average club player. Is my tension OK? What would you recommend?

  85. Giuseppe on said:

    Sorry, forgot to add. Would you recommend a different string? Something not to expensive. Many thanks

  86. GGTennis on said:

    We are not fans of hybrids that make use of a poly with a multi. Rather a poly and soft solid core synthetic work well. We like using a softer poly…something like a WeissCANNON Silverstring or an MSV Focus Hex +38 and then crossing it with a soft solid core synthetic or natural gut. In terms of tension we suggest no higher than 52 with the poly and whatever tension you set poly at, increase the crosses by +4.

    Good luck!

  87. Giuseppe on said:

    Many thanks for your reply.

  88. Eric on said:

    Hey GGT,

    I’ve been following up with your recommendations recently and really appreciate the advice here. Couple questions though which, as a more analytical person, I continue to wonder about. Soft core synthetics lose a lot less tension than most polys. So why is the recommendation of stringing -4lbs in the cross still the same regardless if using a poly cross or a synthetic? I would think as the synthetic cross would stabilize at a much higher tension than the poly cross it would be hard to say you’re still ending up with 20-25% difference in both cases.

    Also I’m curious what you would think of my setup of msv focus hex at 51 in the main and babolat origin at 56 in the cross in a 18×20 6.1 95. Again being an analytic type, I been trying to guess what this is stabilizing at…. guessing both in the upper 40’s.

    What are your thoughts on these newer string types such as origin and glide and how do they fit in with your tradition advice?

  89. Eric on said:

    On that first question, I’m basically struggling with the math for the hybrid setup. If the poly is in the main and its its losing much more tension than the softer string in the cross, how is the cross suppose to end up stabilizing a tension 20-25% lower than the main? Even if you account for fact that the main’s tension off the machine is much higher than the reference tension after the crosses are added.. it still doesn’t seem to be enough to achieve the result intended…

  90. Mark on said:

    Given that string a full set of poly – as per the discussion above – warrants a +4 tension in the crosses, what would you suggest then you chose to hybrid your poly mains (I assume getting you max spin that way) with a solid core synthetic gut as you suggest? Would you string a set of MSV Focus Hex 17 in the mains at 50# and the solid core synthetic gut LOWER as is the traditional thinking? Would you string them both the same anticipating the poly will immediate lose 10% of it’s tension? If the poly mains are at 50# what do you think is the ideal tension for the solid core synthetic gut CROSSES?

  91. GGTennis on said:


    If MSV Focus Hex 17 is used as main at 50 lbs I would use synthetic crosses and string them +4 or 54lbs. The higher tension crosses support the mains better and help them retain their tension and playability longer.

  92. wayzata paintball on said:

    Sorry for my English.Excellent read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing some research on that. And he actually bought me lunch since I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that: Thank you for lunch!

  93. Francisco on said:

    Hi GGT,

    Love your article. I currently have 2 Head Graphene Speed XT MP A (16 x 19) using a full bed of MSV Focus Hex 110 at 51 lbs in the mains and 49 lbs in the crosses. I want to testing your suggestion to increase the tension of the cross strings by 4 pounds. Given your experience, what tensions do you suggest me to do?

    I am from Rio de Janeiro. Today, at 11:00AM, the temperature is 80ºF (winter) and during the summer the average temperature is around 100ºF.


    • GGTennis on said:

      I would suggest mains 48, crosses 52. God luck!

      • Francisco on said:

        Dear GGT, how about RPM Blast / VS Natural Gut and Luxilon Alu Power Spin / VS Natural Gut? Should I consider the same tension (48 / 52)?

        • GGTennis on said:

          I would probably bump it up to 50/54, though I’m not a huge fan of either of those polys if you plan to play more than a few hours with that setup. For short term you’ll be fine.

          • Francisco on said:

            Normally I use MSV Focus Hex 110 and T1 Firewire 120 (have 1 reel of each one). I have a set of RPM / VS (hybrid), Luxilon Spin, VS Natural Gut and Tourna Big Hitter Black 7 17.

            I just want to try the hybrids. How about the Firewire and Big Hitter? Same tension as the MSV (48 / 52)?


          • GGTennis on said:

            Not familiar with FireWire, but yes… If use the full poly tensions for sure.

  94. Khaliq on said:

    Just got my new pro’s pro challenger 1 drop stringing machine – not the best I know, but it’s all I can afford. Strung my first stick ever on Wednesday using your technique as above; coupled with a scaffolder’s magnetic level attached to the drop rod!. I used a digital weighing scale to calibrate and mark off required tensions as I don’t trust the scales on the machine and the level attached definitely ruins things anyway. The level, oddly enough helped with not only leveling the arm , but increased accuracy of extended pulling method, I did not count at all, I just waited for the bubble to stop!

    Dunlop aerogel 300 16X19
    M Ashaway monogut ZX (zyex) 1.27 – 45 lbs
    X Luxilon adrenaline rough 1.25 – 43 lbs

    Unbelievable! Did some serve practice and my serve speed went from an average of 88 mph to 98 mph, the previous set up was with your favorite! Volkl pycho hybrid with that nasty cyclone stuff, (I didn’t know), and Multi on X at 45 lbs.

    Now I want to thank you completely!, but because of the variables – different strings, I’m lost a bit on whom to thank. I do, however, have a sneaking suspicion that both your method coupled with this zyex stuff may be a winning formula. This is based not only on speeds, but feel and immense spin generated from the zyex, (increasing my serves in by 30%). So thanks anyway mate.

    Today I am going to try your Jet method with L-Tech 3S X & ZX M.Do you guys know anything about this zyex and if so any suggestions for my second stick setup.
    P.S. I have been frantically searching virtually all you forums for someone who may of mentioned this string in passing, but sadly NO.

    Cheers mate for all your help

    • Khaliq on said:

      I forgot to mention I upped the X tension due to what I read about zyex being so natural gut-like and springy and adrenaline being so soft and forgiving, so hence the 45lbs M / 43lbs X in an attempt to reduce power!!
      Look forward from hearing from you dude.
      All the best

  95. Mark on said:

    Tier One FIREWIRE is a comfortable, precise, crispy, solid, lively polyester – compares to Volkl Cyclone Tour, Gamma Moto, Solinco Tour Bite, MSV Focus Hex, and Yonex PTP 125 (with less power and more spin potential). A very well balanced string.

  96. Eddie M on said:

    Great stuff GGT!! I am always experimenting with setups both for me and for my players I coach or string for. Most are higher level juniors, 4.5 and above or futures level. I preface what I am going to write because I believe too many players at levels below this are looking in the wrong place to improve their games. I get asked many times from lower level guys about stringing, and with all due respect answer that they need to find their improvement in technique and fitness before looking to find the best string setup for them. Start at a base setup of comfort and proceed then work on the game. I find this in the forums 95% of the time, and worse those same guys giving string advice to others. Just an observation.

    So here is my question, I am using Tier One Durafluxx 17g 53/53, been using for well over a year, consistent low power high control string, fits my power game. To test the +4 on the crosses would you stay at 53 and then crosses at 57 or perhaps 51/55 ? or 50/54 ? Don’t want to stiffen further an already stiff string. Although I will tell you that Ive taken stiff strings and gone +6 just to test and the result was a strange increase in power and loss of control HMM !!

    So whats your thought on my question on my setup ?

    Also, I have a few sets of gut, Paciofic, KLIP, really want to give the GUT poly blend one more shot. Tried it in the past and wasn’t convinced. Staying with my Stiff Durafluxx give me some ideas as to tensions and Main or crosss setups and also the pulling mechanisms please ?

    Again, great stuff and advice above, I hope I did not come across the wrong way with the comment on lower level players but just giving my honest and humble opinion.

    Regards !!

    • GGTennis on said:

      We suggest +4 because of performance and also if you go higher, such as +6, you risk an unacceptable level of frame distortion. Your questions is difficult. I do not know your string, but if it is like most copolys, then 53 is about as high as you can go without overstretching. If you were playing gut or synthetic or even one of the newer polys with just a litle extra elasticity you could go to 51/55, but I’m afraid that’s too high for the crosses. So if you were coming to me I would string your mains at 51 and crosses at 50 and use an extended pulling time method on a constant pull machine. This allows the string to elongate naturally without exceeding elastic limits.

      With Gut/Poly go with poly mains at 52 and gut crosses at 56…this setup is easier as no extended pulling is needed and you are not exceeding elastic limits of either string.

      • Eddie M on said:

        I already strung one racquest at 51/55. I will test the 51/50 with extra pull time on another stick and compare.

        Also, the Gut Poly I was thinking of the Gut in the mains not the crosses, what would be your suggested tensions and/or pull methods with the gut in the mains. Also is there a reason you did not mention gut in the mains ? Again thanks for the feedback, I am always looking to test new things out for me and my crew !!

        • GGTennis on said:

          You said a string with lower power and higher control was best for your style of play. Poly mains with gut crosses fits this style of play better than gut mains, IMO. That said, Gut mains may also work, but you will want higher tensions. Probably take the pol to max tension, 53 and add 4lbs for the gut. So gut 57/poly53.

          • Eddie M on said:

            Ok, so in the gut mains 57/ poly crosses 53 do I do extended pulling time on the poly crosses or just standard pull and clamp ?

  97. Vlad on said:

    I’m a 4.0 playing with a Head Youtek Extreme Pro 2.0 racquet…it’s a relatively new racquet and very much favors a more aggressive power hitter (but hopefully I’ll grow into it). It does suffer with shot placement given my intermediate skills. I do my own stringing and typically have strung it with a 46/42 tension using Yonex Poly Tour Pro 120 17 guage. I just tried your suggestion of stringing 42/46 and found the ball just flying off the racquet with little control. Any suggestions on what tweaks or variations I can play around with? (I do want to stick with sames strings…just bought a new reel)

    • GGTennis on said:

      If 46/42 works for you, then stick with it. No need to change. Not all methods work in all situations. That said, I’m surprised you have no control. Do you have any tools to measure stringbed stiffness? Good luck!

  98. Fern on said:

    Great information and different from other sources. My 15 yrs old daughter uses a Yonex Ezone DR100 Blue and after some trials, we arrive to the following string arrangement Cyclone 18 Main (46) / Cyclone 17 Cross (49). After reading that the main shall be thicker and higher tension, we tried the 17gs (49) on main with 18 ga (46) on cross. She does not see much difference but I believe that the previous arrangement was better. The thought is that thinner gauge lower tension on main will provide more spin while a thicker higher tension cross will help with control. She is a top spin / slice player and I was looking for thin strings – low tension to avoid elbow issues. Gut strings do not last given our humid environment. Given that tournaments are every other week, it is difficult to find enough time to try new tensions or arrangements. What would you recommend?

  99. Dubo on said:

    Hi, my question is in regard to using, for example, Wilson Champions Choice where Natural Gut is used for mains and ALU Power Rough for crosses (a.k.a. Reverse hybrid).

    Is your recommendation still to use +4 lbs on the crosses compared to mains, i.e. 50 lbs mains(gut) / 54 lbs crosses(poly)? Am I mixing things up here with fullbody polys?

    Googling around the most common recommendation seems to be the other way around, i.e. 54 lbs main (gut) / 50 lbs crosses (poly). Please elaborate.

    I am using a Yonex ezone dr 100(300g) and am looking for a combination that will give me more power without losing control. Perhaps you have a better recommendation for hybrid combo strings than the one I mentioned above?

  100. lukaslukas on said:

    Hey there,

    I’m just starting reading into tennis stringing stuff and experimenting with how it could improve my game. My trainer suggested me to stop using polys, because he told me that a multi will keep good playing properties for a longer period of time and when googling about that, I came to find your website. I read through all of this and also your posts on low tension stringing. What confuses me, is that you recommend higher tensions that would overstretch a poly, here. So I’m wondering, if you don’t go with low tensions for poly strings anymore? Since I play a very low powered racket (Prince Phantom Pro 100P), I thought the low tension could even be beneficial. Mainly I’m looking for the maximum playability duration, I can get out of my polys. Any recommendations on strings and tension for that.
    And thanks for sharing your thoughts on this stuff, really appreciate it!

    Cheers, Lukas

    • Matt Kempf on said:

      I also have the Prince PP100p. I use kirschbaum pro line II (red) tight at 55 (highest recommended for the stick), but recently down to 40 to give it a try. I loved it. It’s only been played on for 4 hours, so we’ll see. The theory is that lower tension makes then last longer before going dead.

  101. Usptarf97a on said:

    Can you explain how the mains can get 35% tighter. Say i string at 50lbs how can they end up at 67lbs??

  102. Randy on said:

    I use a Wilson Ultra Tour (18×20) 97 square inch.
    Silver string mains Micro 17 crosses
    What stringing method do you recommend?
    2 or 4 lbs +/-

  103. Frank on said:

    I’m stringing for a nationally ranked 14-year old junior (6’1″/150lbs). He’s using Solinco Hyper G in the mains and Babolat Origin in the crosses. I’ve been stringing them both at 51lbs, but am wondering if I should go a little higher on the mains to account for tension loss? The Hyper G has 28% loss while the Origin is only 17%, which is a 65% difference. I measure the dynamic tension after a few hours of play and the tension has dropped to the low 40’s and I’m imagining that at this point there is a large differential between the mains and the crosses. I string with a drop-weight and hold the pull for 20 seconds between clamps. Any idea roughly how much of the tension loss occurs during stringing? Am I overthinking this? Thanks!

  104. Ivar on said:

    My stringer will be using an electronic constant pull machine to restring my racket.
    It is an 18×20 racket, and I will be using a 1.20mm full bed poly at 44lbs.
    The stringer won’t be holding the crosses for 20 seconds before clamping off.
    My questions are –
    What causes/what is the likelihood of the crosses to overstretch in this case?
    And should the crosses be strung tighter or looser and by how much?
    (On a lock out machine, I would have the crosses strung tighter as you recommend as playability lasts a lot longer)


  105. Terry on said:

    I have been stringing a blade 104 (18×19) in hybrid, multi mains and poly crosses recently tried 52 mains, 40 crosses (hated it), and now 50 mains and 45 crosses (am liking it). I am keeping the (poly) crosses at a lower tension because the poly is stiffer. What would you recommend or I experiment with ? The polys I have used are all smooth. Next I am thinking a 48 M and 44/45 C. The multi seems to be playing better as the the crosses are supporting them more, but I don’t want the bed to be too stiff due to the poly. I like touch.

  106. Radu on said:

    Please tell me if it is ok to string a Prince Warrior 107T (107 square inches) with strings Pro’s Pro Hexaspin monofilament ,1.30mm, at tension 24kg / 24 kg (keeping 20 seconds in tension the crosses ) . Thank you for the answer


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